eHarmony Settles Lawsuit, Starts Gay Site

    November 27, 2008
    Chris Crum

eHarmony is releasing a new same-sex matching service starting by the end of March. This service is the product of legal problems the company has been dealing with out of New Jersey and California. A gay man in Jersey sued the company for not catering to same-sex relationships as a violation of his rights in the state of New Jersey, and earlier in the year, a gay woman from San Francisco filed a suit against the company for being denied access to eHarmony’s service because of her sexuality. Reuters reports:

The settlement was the result of a discrimination complaint filed by Eric McKinley against eHarmony in 2005, which will be dismissed under the settlement agreement.

eHarmony was founded in 2000 by evangelical Christian Dr. Neil Clark Warren and had ties with the influential religious conservative group Focus on the Family.

eHarmony issued a statement regarding the settlement and discussing the new site called Compatible Partners:

"Even though we believed that the complaint resulted from an unfair characterization of our business, we ultimately decided it was best to settle this case with the Attorney General since litigation outcomes can be unpredictable," said eHarmony, Inc. legal counsel Theodore B. Olson.  "eHarmony looks forward to moving beyond this legal dispute, which has been a burden for the company, and continuing to advance its business model of serving individuals by helping them find successful, long-term relationships."

Evidently there will be no crossover between the two sites. In other words, eHarmony users will not be matched with Compatible Partners users. The two sites will maintain their own matching pools, registration information, and subscriptions. The separate matching pools are based on whether the user chooses to seek an opposite- or same-sex relationship.